How does high/low blood pressure arise?
The level of blood pressure is established by a part of the brain known as the circulatory centre and is regulated by feedback from the central nervous system. It is adjusted by the strength and frequency of the heart rate (pulse) and by the width of the blood vessel walls.The level of arterial blood pressure changes periodically during heart activity:
During the "blood ejection" (systole) stage, the value is maximal and referred to as the systolic blood pressure value, while at the end of heart's "rest period" (diastole), the value is minimal and referred to as the diastolic blood pressure value.
The blood pressure values must lie within certain normal ranges in order to prevent particular diseases.
Which values are normal?
If, at rest, diastolic blood pressure is above 90mmHg and/or systolic blood pressure is above 140mmHg, then blood pressure is too high. In this case, please consult your doctor. Long-term values at this level can endanger your health due to the associated advancing damage to the blood vessels in your body.
A doctor should also be consulted if blood pressure levels are too low, i.e. systolic values under 100mmHg and/or diastolic values under 60mmHg. With normal blood pressure values, a regular self check with a blood pressure monitor is recommended. This way you can detect possible changes in your values early and respond accordingly.
If you are undergoing medical treatment to control your blood pressure, please keep a record of the level of your blood pressure by carrying out regular self measurements at specific times of the day. Show these values to your doctor. Never use the results of your measurements to independently change the medication doses prescribed by your doctor.
Table for classifying blood pressure values (units mmHg) according to the World Health Organisation (WHO)
|Range||Systolic blood pressure ||Diastolic blood pressure |
|Hypotension||lower than 100 ||lower than 60|
|Normal Range ||between 100 and 120||between 60 and 80|
|Mild Hypertension ||between 140 and 160 ||between 90 and 100 |
|Moderate Hypertension||between 160 and 180 ||between 100 and 110 |
|Severe Hypertension||higher than 180 ||higher than 110|
What can be done, if consistently high / low values are obtained?
1. Consult your doctor.
2. There are general lifestyle measures which can be taken to both prevent and reduce high blood pressure. These include:
A) Eating Habits
- Strive for normal weight according to age.
- Avoid excessive consumption of salt!
- Avoid fatty foods!
B) Previous Illnesses
- Adhere to medical instructions given for the treatment of pre-existing illnesses such as diabetes mellitus, fat metabolism disorder and gout.
- Give up smoking!
- Drink only moderate amounts of alcohol!
- Restrict your caffeine consumption (eg. coffee)!
D) Physical Constitution
- After preliminary medical examination, exercise regularly.
- Choose sports which require stamina and avoid those which require strenght.
- Avoid reaching the limit of your performance.
- With previous illnesses and/or an age of over 40 years, please consult your doctor before beginning your sporting activities. He will advise you regarding the type and extent of types of sport that are possible for you.
Typical 24-hours rhythm